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Restoring an Heirloom Rug, Mending Precious Family Memories [Case Study]

Posted by Hammond Knoll on Feb 14, 2019 10:06:00 AM

In the days of minimalism, practicality, and the television show “Hoarders,” people aren’t holding onto things like they used to.

Family mementos are often tossed to the curb or donated to a thrift shop in the name of clutter-busting.

The bottom line is that younger generations often just don’t want the STUFF that belonged to their parents, grandparents and so on.

But preserving a family legacy is important.

Everyone should have a few items of sentimental value to share with future generations.

We’re going to take a look at a story of one person who had a valued heirloom that she feared was beyond repair.

Here’s what happened when one customer brought in a special memento for a professional rug cleaning.

The story

It was one of those typical dark, rainy days in February. The kind where you get drenched during the walk from the parking lot to the front door.  

The front door swings open and in comes a customer in her mid 40's, dragging a big black trash bag.

In the bag was an odor so pungent it filled the room with its sour smell.

It was a rug with dried rodent feces, cat urine, mold, dirt, and oil (not car oil but a smelly fish type).

“Gross” was an understatement.

The customer explained that – despite its repugnant condition – this rug was the only thing salvageable out of her mom's home.

Her mother had passed a month prior to her visit to us.

The customer’s mother had also been a hoarder.

After not seeing her mom in quite a while, she was heartbroken by the condition of the rug – a sentimental link to her mother.

We accepted the job, but, needless to say, it was a challenge to clean the rug.  

The process

It took two weeks to remove the odor alone.

We used a submersion odor removal process with an enzyme deodorizer. Next, the rug was dusted to remove any loose soil and fecal matter.

It was then cleaned, sanitized once again and hung in our large dry room to dry for 24 hours.  

The next day it was groomed, rolled and sealed with love.

And although some of the stains still remained on the back of the rug, the end result was spectacular.

The result

Showing our customer the finished product was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

When she came in to pick up the rug and saw its restored condition, she shed tears of joy.

She was so happy to have one little tangible piece of a memory from when she was a child and spent time on that very same rug with her mom.

Mission accomplished.


Caption: Left side is the original condition of the rug; the right side is “after” cleaning. Rodent feces, cat urine, mold, dust mites and bacteria all once lived in this rug.

Memories restored by professional rug cleaning

This lovely story about a woman who was given back a tangible piece of her childhood and memories with her deceased mother isn’t a solitary tale.

At HammondKnoll, we’re delighted to be in the business of restoring memories in this way.

Our experienced staff takes the utmost care with each and every heirloom rug we work on, from start to amazing finish.

Do you have an heirloom rug that you’d like to see restored to its former beauty?


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